January 31, 2008

Tears at work.

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:30 pm by LG

I know that’s a HUGE no no.  But today, the world just got too heavy for the dam, and I had to close my door for a few mintues to release the floods.  It was more like a generous drip, but only with some major effort. 

I get so mad at myself during times like these and I want to figure out everything instantly so I can fix it.  But, as my friend Diane said (I will have to devote an entire post or two about her at some point), sometimes you just have a bad day.  Period.  There’s nothing wrong, nothing to “fix.”  I’m trying to be ok with that but it’s hard.  Naturally we think bad days are, um, bad.  They feel unnatural and we fight them.  But I guess without the bad days we wouldn’t really know the good ones.

I’m sure a lot led to this one:  Not-so-pleasant words with my father this weekend.  My first (difficult) visit to a domestic violence shelter where I am now volunteering.  Feeling screwed by the guys who change my oil and the guys who do my investing.  Needing to clean my car and do my taxes (which I never did because Dutch actually liked doing those things for me . . . Mind you, I don’t even have my W-2s in yet but the task is looming overhead.)  The final trigger was finding a note in my wallet from the only guy I dated since Dutch.  I’ll call him T.  I know I started dating T way too soon after Dutch, but well, he made me feel like a princess (ding ding ding, I thought I had finally made it to happiness!) and I believed that he could “save” me.  He said the sweetest words, for which I am a huge sucker, and this note was no exception.  

That’s when I had to close the door. 

And the thought that kept coming up in my mind (and in the pit of my stomach) was: “How can someone (dutch and T) love me so much at one point and now not be in my life at all?  When did I stop being that girl to him and starting being this one?” 

I’m actually crying again as I type this – I say this not so you feel sorry (lord, there are so many more important things about which to feel compassion…and I should be happy that I’m not the victim of domestic violence or genocide instead of merely a broken heart) but so you know that it’s real for me.  I’m reading this book right now, Man’s Serach for Meaning (thank you Jeff) about a concentration camp survivor and clinical psychologist.  There’s a passage in there that makes me feel less guilty about suffering so much from what what seems like such a little life event compared to what others experience:  “A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas.  If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber.  Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little.” 

….so I like to think I’m not just weak or compulsive about my broken heart, but rather, the nature of suffering is to fill every nook and cranny of my being…thus the tears over a note….  

 Anyhow, thank god for girlfriends.  Several of them today reminded me that, sure, although there is some responsibilty that I need to take for failed relationships, I don’t need to take it all.   Maybe, just maybe, I didn’t go from being that girl — the one deserving of princess treatment — to this girl — the one who is incapable of being loved…. Maybe he was the one who changed….    Or maybe he wasn’t who I thought he was to begin with.  I’m not so sure.   

In the end, I was able to chalk up today as just being a not-so-great day.  That’s all.  And, in reality, after going to the first sportsmonster cornhole match of the season and having a great time with quality people, I’m not sure the day is in the “bad” category after all.  I think it was just a day. 

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January 30, 2008

Some Random Spoutings by Me and a Question Posed by Mel

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:58 pm by LG

Again with the lists . . .

1.  I am so shocked and pleased with the comments from everyone!  I love having the dialogue and the support of all of you, thank you.  My mom called yesterday to tell me that she is hooked on the blog, but that she had to read it at home because she started crying when she tried to read it at work.  She said visiting my site is like going to a “feel good” movie and that it makes her want to do something helpful for the world, “like volunteer to be a crossing guard for little kids.”  Those of you who know my mom will not at all be surprised by that statement.

2.  With that said, I realized last night that I can neither post something daily (let alone something decently entertaining) nor can I reply to each comment as I originally hoped to (mostly because I thought they would all come from my friend Maggie 🙂  As my good friend “Anonymous” implied when he asked me how the heck I have time to do this, I am often swamped with work and, well, TRYING to maintain a social life.  (Also, Anonymous, I don’t play online poker, video games or watch reality TV.)  So, I’m going to forgive myself for not being “perfect” on this blog – indeed, this is supposed to be ME, who is (gulp) NOT perfect.  Some of my posts will probably be simple, some will be loaded with spelling and grammar mistakes, and some may not be so pretty.  But I’m putting it all out there…for ME.  As for the comments though, I will have to live with the fact that I will never be able to repay all of you for your endless support…not just with this experiment, but with the entire journey.  Know that I read everything you write and take it to heart.

3. Does anyone have a good tax person?  Despite the fact I was a math major, I don’t like paperwork.  Dutch used to do them for us . . .

4. I afraid I’m becoming a bitter person.  I re-read some of my posts and thought, “well, I think this is just a phase I’m going through and I’ll get it sorted out.”  But last night I went to Northstar (my favorite) for carryout.  It was pouring, so I drove.  I still had to park a block away and when I walked in, dripping, some guy at the door looked at me, held out his keys, and said (jokingly, I understand), “Well, since you’re already wet, do you want to go get my car?”  In an instant the following thought popped in my head, “Well, since you’re already a piece of crap, do you want to fertilize my lawn?”  Gasp!!  I don’t talk like that.  I don’t think like that.  Mom and Dad, you certainly didn’t raise me like that.  Where is all of this coming from.  Of course, my response was a smile and a “ha ha ha” ….but still.  I’m starting to get to know an ugly side of me….and, honestly, I actually kind of like her.   But I do hope I learn to tame her a bit.

With all of that off my chest, I decided to pull a question from a comment into a regular post.  My good friend Mel, who is a teacher, and thus, often poses questions, asked (in the 27 dresses discussion): “Should we (as a society) do a better job of preparing woman for the realities of life by removing idealistic medias or would life be too depressing without having the ability to dream about fancy weddings and meeting the right guy, etc?”

I thought about this last night and this morning at the gym.  Mel, I think my answer is yes and no (I learned that answer in law school).  I do think that there is some value in having romantic movies, fairy tales, and dreams.  I love reading/watching movies and sometimes there’s nothing better than escaping from life’s often mundane moments into a good story.  In short, it gives the mind a break.  So, bring on Cinderella, Pretty Woman, 27 Dresses!  But, a line must be drawn somewhere.  For me, it is here: When I go to see a movie or read a book, I can understand that this is fiction.  I watch the movie or read the book and then return to my life.  But the life to which I return is also full of these “fantasy” messages that aren’t so clear to the receiever (ie, me and all of us).  For example, this morning at the gym, I must have seen 7 magazines on the shelf with headlines about products to make you more beautiful (so you can get the man of your dreams), or bedroom secrets that will keep your man coming back for more.  I turned on the TV on the elliptical and saw a music video in which men and women (all unbelievably attractive) fall in love and live happily ever after all within a moving, melodic, three-minute time span.  And I sung along.  When I was younger, I’m sure I wanted Cinderella or Snow White pajamas (well, I’m sure I wanted Dukes of Hazzard pajamas, but my sister probably wanted some fairytale princess crap and I’m sure she (and I) wanted to BE Cinderella).  

My point is that we don’t just get these unrealistic messages from movies and books.  We can’t just sign up for two hours of wishful thinking and realize that that’s all it is.  It’s everywhere.  It’s sneaky.  And it all tells us that the key to happiness is on the  OUTSIDE – in men, in clothes, in cars, in houses.  And God help you if you’re over 40, or overweight, or poor…our society (through all of these messages) simply tells you that you have no shot at happiness.   

 So, Hollywood, sign me up for the moives; sign me up for a book, but leave me alone the rest of the time. 

Ok, I’ve gotten myself all worked up…. off to take a few deep breaths, which, I’m learning is the greatest way to give the mind a break.      

January 28, 2008

27 Dresses

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:35 pm by LG

Twenty seven dresses.jpg

I went to see the movie tonight.  I don’t know how many stars it got from the critics, but one would have been a gift.  Nevertheless, it was the kind of movie I needed tonight – something girly, simple….with a wonderfully handsome, sensitive, smart (and, of course, fictitious) man. 

But, it was about weddings, and well, I’m not so hot on those these days.  In fact, I think this was the first wedding chick-flick I’ve seen since I threw away (as in the trash) my bouquet.  And, surprise, surprise, the plot was about a beautiful independent woman who just can’t seem to be happy with herself because, hmmmm, there’s just something.  She needs a man.  And once she finds him, and she takes those meaningful steps down the asile — indeed, this is the moment for which she’s been waiting her whole life — happiness is abundant.

It was all I could do to keep myself from jumping up, throwing my M&Ms at the screen, and shouting, “But, we don’t need a man to be happy!” 

But I sat in silence instead because I realized that the person I would be shouting at the loudest, the one woman who really needs to hear and understand that, is me.    

With that lesson learned, the outing was actually a pleasant “escape” from my very hectic day.  [Entirely due to the company I kept this evening, thanks ladies!]  And as much as I found myself getting worked up over the fact that no men were in the theatre absorbing this “can’t-be-happy-’til-you’re-a-couple” message from society, (duh, they’re all two doors down in Rambo) I found myself wondering if I’ll ever have a wedding again . . .   I’m not sure if I should be mad, sad, happy, or hopeful that I have those thoughts.  But, there they are. 

January 27, 2008

An Artsy Sunday

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:46 pm by LG

Sundays have always been tough for me.  There’s an emptiness that settles in my stomach late Sunday afternoon that feels so heavy.  Which is strange . . . How can emptiness have so much weight?  Luckily, today, I had some help: my niece.  Even though she’s only two, she’s a tough little girl.  The “Sunday blues” don’t stand a chance against her. 

We call her Bug and I’ll call her Bug on my blog.  

Bug is an interesting character.  She’s a studier.  A thinker.  She can be a bit of a drama queen.  She’s fiercely independent – you can do NOTHING to help her, nevermind that she’s not actually getting any of the food into her mouth.  I’m afraid she might be like her Aunt Little Girl (the thinker, independent part…not the failing to get food in the mouth part, i can do that just fine). 

I adore her.

I try to stand back and give her space – Space to learn and, gasp, make mistakes (I wish I could give myself the same sort of breathing room).  I try not to smother her right when I see her, even though all I want to do is plant a hundred kisses on her big red cheeks.  So even though I try to play it cool with this tot, I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t melt every time she sends a smile my way.  I thought about that on my way home from my parents’ house (where my family gathered today) and I realized that those gestures mean so much because they’re so real; so genuine.  I mean, sure, maybe she smiled at me because she knew I would give her another ‘Nilla Wafer; in fact, that’s probably the case.  But I like to believe that she offers some of those affections because she actually adores me too.            

Today, she was a little stand-offish at first.  Didn’t really want to sit with me or let me read her a book…it’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen her and I think I had to build up my credibility again.  So, I asked for a high five (is that even cool anymore?) and turned back to reading some briefs I brought with me.  Sure enough, after she played with all of the usual “highlights” at my parents’ house (the piano, the dog, the computer), she slowly made her way over to me, climbed right up next to me on the couch and grabbed a brief.  She looked at me, looked at the brief, and started turning the pages.  She didn’t stay interested in the reading for very long (I don’t blame her, it’s a boring case) but she was so content sitting next to me.   And I was in heaven.  I knew that she could be playing with any one of the million toys that “MiMi and Grumps” have bought her (that’s what she calls my parents, by the way, and I swear I still feel like I’m in a twilight zone when i hear those names in reference to my parents…they can’t actually be grandparents, can they?? …. I get a similar feeling when I hear my mom asking Bug if she needs to go to the “pee-pot”…who actually comes up with these names??).  Anyhow, Bug was happy with me. 

I decided to really enjoy the moment, so I put away the briefs and started drawing pictures with her.  I’m not sure how it happened but I ended up designing bracelets and rings on her fingers and wrists.  Yea, my sister wasn’t too happy about that, but it’ll come off in the tub, and more importantly, Bug loved it.  Oh, I drew a watch too.  And I could just see the change in her – she felt grown up and pretty.  And I told her what a big, pretty girl she was.  And for a moment, I felt like a fun, artsy aunt. 

Of course, two seconds later my thoughts turn to: oh my gosh, will she think she has to wear jewelry in order to be pretty?; will she think being pretty is a priority?; will she think she needs other people’s approval to feel good about herself?  I almost took her to the bathroom to wash the “jewelry” off myself, but then I relaxed a bit and remembered that she is an independent little girl with a big voice.  And as long as I’m around, I’m going to do my damndest to make sure that doesn’t go away.  I have a feeling the rest of the world won’t be so protective of Bug’s big voice…in fact, someone just let me borrow a book called Metting at the Crossroads – it’s about what girls give up on the way to womanhood; sadly, it’s often their voice.  

I hope that by taking this journey and finding my voice again, I’ll somehow also help Bug keep hers.  

. . .  and hope to give her some pretty jewelry from time to time.   

 Oh, here’s a picture of Bug…she was reading the latest edition of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law during the OSU national championship football game….just like her Aunt.

tmpphpvvdis31.jpg

January 26, 2008

Ready or not, here I am…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:58 pm by LG

Hello world. 

I’ve decided to take the plunge, the blog plunge that is.  Last year, my good friend/lifesaver Maggie started her blog and she’s been encouraging me to do the same.  “It’s therapeutic,” she says.  I was skeptical at first, but sure enough, after reading about her journeys (both across the world and in her soul) I began to see that there is actually something to be said about reflecting on your life through online posts. 

So, I decided to start my own.  Last year.  It’s taken me so long to get started because I had to do some research of course (which blog provider should I use?) and then I had to buy a book about blogging (I seriously had anxiety about the fact that I wouldn’t know how to add in links unless I read a chapter on it.)  Then, somewhere between creating my “blog plan” and shopping for a new laptop — because I told myself that I needed a new computer if I wanted to do this blog thing right — I realized I was just avoiding the whole idea.  

Hmmm.  That got me wondering, “Little Girl, what’s up; why don’t you want to do this blog?”  And then it hit me.  Writing this blog will actually require me to reflect on my life, to get to know me – the real me – and to face some of my internal thoughts, fears, (and even more scary sometimes) dreams. 

Glup. 

I’ve been through a lot the last year or so and I’ve been dealing with it by, well, not dealing with it.  So, I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and get to know the real me, one blog at a time. 

I started by creating a definition of myself (see link, Me, Defined).  I imagine this will change from time to time…or at least I hope it will as I get to know myself better and grow with each experience.  

 I also made a list of all the reasons why blogging is a good idea (I know, I make lists for everything, and yes, it is exhausting): 

  1. (this may be the biggest) – I am moving to LA next year for a new job, which I probably won’t write about much due to professional and safety reasons (I’m sure the bloods and crips are into blogging too) and I think having this cite will be a good way for my family and friends to picture my new life on the west coast.  I also imagine I’ll have a lot of “reflecting” to do, being thousands of miles away from home, and may actually have some moments of clarity through blogging.
  2. I can’t stand the sight of my own handwriting, so any sort of traditional diary is out of the question.
  3. Blogging is a reminder to me that my life is, in fact, very interesting, and wonderful.
  4. I’m hoping to develop a very witty internal dialogue with myself (a la Carrie Bradshaw).
  5. I can only work on my “Girl Power” playlist for so long before Gwen and Britney get on my nerves…I need another outlet. 
  6. Sometimes with work, I feel like all I do is read and write (which I love) but that I’m not really ever saying anything.  Here’s the perfect opportunity.
  7. (most importantly) Blogging will not let me abandon myself, which I’ve realized I’ve been doing for a very long time.  I am here to learn about life and me…ready or not. 

So, come along for the ride, if you wish.  Stay as long or as little as you like.  I hope to have some interesting stories to share (indeed, my dating life alone could entertain the masses), some questions to ask, and maybe even an answer or two along the way.